“There are groups all over the world that have adopted the al-Qaida ideology and those groups are actually growing in strength,” he said.
Other threats are from extremists in the United States on both sides of the political spectrum, such as militias and environmental and animal rights groups, Cid said. Most of the members aren't violent, but that could change when an agitated person with violent tendencies is placed in a leadership position.
“The challenge is separating the dangerous from the merely silly to the merely angry,” he said.
“Terrorism prevention is difficult,” Cid said. “A constitutional democracy is the ideal operational environment for terrorists. ... This gives the adversary an advantage.”
Americans have always chosen liberty over terrorism “so we accept that there is a certain degree of risk in our everyday life,” he said.
“The best hope we have to prevent terrorism is through the use of intelligence,” he said.
Cid spoke to those attending the National Lieutenant Governors Association meeting after they had toured the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum, which was established after the 1995 bombing of the Murrah Building.